Wife: Griner Is at Her 'Absolute Weakest Moment'

Cherelle Griner hopes Vladimir Putin will have mercy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2022 11:05 AM CDT
Cherelle Griner: 'Do I Ever Get to See My Wife Again?'
Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, speaks during a news conference in Chicago on July 8.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Brittney Griner is at her "absolute weakest moment in life," according to wife Cherelle Griner, who fears the woman she calls "BG" is losing hope of returning home. "She's very afraid about being left and forgotten in Russia, or just completely used to the point of her detriment," Cherelle tells CBS Mornings. Cherelle says she cried for days after her last phone call with the 31-year-old sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia for inadvertently carrying 0.7 grams of cannabis oil into the country, who said she felt like her life didn't matter. Cherelle says it was "the most disturbing conversation" she's ever had with her wife, per TMZ.

"You could hear that she was not OK"—that she had "suffered to the max," Cherelle says of the WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist who's been imprisoned in Russia since February. "I don't know if she has anything left in her tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she has no one." Cherelle says she's heard multiple reports of Americans found to be in possession of cannabis in Russia who carried on with their day after paying a fine. But because of her celebrity status, Brittney Griner has become a "hostage," her wife says. "BG has truly suffered beyond her crime already" and "it tears me to pieces."

She says President Biden, whom she met last month, is "doing what he can"—the US government has proposed a prisoner swap—"but there's another party in this situation." Cherelle says Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to show mercy in granting the proposed prisoner swap before an Oct. 25 appeal hearing in Russia. If Brittney's appeal is rejected as expected—the White House on Tuesday called the hearing "another sham judicial proceeding," per CBS—she could then be moved to a labor camp. "My brain can't even fathom it," says Cherelle. "I'm sitting there like, 'Do we get her back? Do I ever get to see my wife again?'" (Read more Brittney Griner stories.)

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